Real Madrid edged past eternal-rivals Barcelona 2-1 in a thrilling El Clasico match at a rain-soaked Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
Karim Benzema put Madrid ahead in the 14th minute while a deflected Toni Kroos free kick doubled their lead in the 28th.
Barcelona halved the goal deficit when Oscar Mingueza converted Jordi Alba’s cross after Antoine Griezmann’s clever dummy.
Meanwhile, star striker Lionel Messi continued his El Clasico goal drought to seven games after his attempt denied by the post at the end of the first half.
Madrid lost Casemiro to two yellow cards in the space of a minute as Barcelona piled on the pressure in search of a late equaliser but their comeback fell agonisingly short, with substitute Ilaix Moriba’s thunderous effort cannoning off the bar in the final minute of stoppage time (Sky Sports ).
The defeat brings Barcelona’s 19-game unbeaten run to an end and hands the initiative in the La Liga title race to champions Real Madrid, who are level on points with Atletico Madrid but replace them at the summit by virtue of their superior head-to-head record.